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Category: LGBTQ+ Page 1 of 9

From the Vaults VII: The Archives of Sexuality and Gender

As internet troglodytes naturalised denizens of the internet, it can sometimes be tempting to fall into the belief that everything there is to know can be found for free online. While it’s true that there is an awful lot of information out there, there are two really important things to be aware of:

  • Not everything you can read for free online is true (shocking thought, I know)
  • A lot of the really reliable, peer-reviewed stuff? Yeah. You gotta pay for that (and they wonder why disinformation is rife)

One of the most important, and coolest, things about the public library is that we can get our readers past those paywalls without you having to pay a cent — so you can get access to the most up-to-date, accurate, and reliable info at the low, low cost of typing in your library card number and trying to remember your PIN.

So today, we thought we would spotlight one of our favourite online resources — the Gale Archives of Sexuality and Gender. Whether you’re doing research for school, want to learn more about our queer elders, or are just curious about how societies all over the world have understood and approached questions of sexuality and gender across time — read on, fellow troglodyte, read on!

via GIPHY

Introducing the Archives of Sexuality and Gender

The Gale Archives of Sexuality and Gender is the largest digital collection in the world of primary sources to do with the history and study of sex, sexuality and gender. It’s split up into four different sections, all of which contain everything from magazines, photographs, cartoons, pamphlets, articles, historic books, government briefings, pieces of legislation, pieces of propaganda, and much more — all to do with how sexual norms have changed over time, the development of health education, social movements and activism, changing gender roles… the list goes on.

What’s in the Archives?

The four sections of the Archives are:

  1. International Perspectives on LGBTQ Activism and Culture
    What’s it about?
    This archive collects information about sexual and gender diversity in underrepresented areas of the world, including Oceania and Africa, with a special focus on activism and the global struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights and freedoms.
    What can I find here?
    Newspapers, magazines, cartoons, photographs, personal letters, and other files from prominent activists in Africa and Australia.
  2. LGBTQ History and Culture since 1940, Part I
    What’s it about?
    This archive focusses on grassroots movements that sprung up around the world in support of LGBTQIA+ rights during the mid-20th century, especially around the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
    What can I find here?
    Newsletters, community meeting documents, newspapers, research reports, government briefings, legislation, photographs, medical research, surveys, private letters.
  3. LGBTQ History and Culture since 1940, Part II
    What’s it about?
    This archive provides coverage of groups who, even within the LGBTQIA+ community, have not been as well represented as other activist groups, including religious queer communities as well as Two-Spirit, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities. The focus in this archive is more on personal stories than on organisations.
    What can I find here?
    Oral histories, posters, interview transcripts, research papers, psychological surveys, personal letters, manuscripts.
  4. Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth Century
    What’s it about?
    This archive focusses on understanding how various societies’ understanding of sexual and gender norms have changed from the 1500s through to today.
    What can I find here?
    Extremely rare books and manuscripts including poetry, fiction, historic guides to etiquette and behaviour, medical and scientific texts, law, religious literature, and the personal library of Dr. Alfred Kinsey (yes, that Kinsey)

How do I use the Archives?

Well, in some ways an archive is sort of like a microcosm of the general internet. Just like you can with Google, you can do a general search in the archive’s search engine, and it will bring up an array of results that may or may not include what you’re actually looking for.

But an archive like this one is a little bit cleverer than just any old search engine — so for us to get the most out of it, we have to be a little bit cleverer too!

For example, if you’re interested in learning about LGBTQIA+ history in New Zealand, you can use a special Publication Search to limit your results to only items that were ‘born’ in New Zealand. If what you’re looking for is really specific (e.g. “political posters produced in the 1980s in New Zealand relating to the AIDs crisis”), using a combination of Advanced Search tools will be your way to go.

But we can get even cleverer still! Here are two of our favourite ways to use the Archives:

Topic Finder

The Topic Finder helps you visualise connections between what you’ve searched, and other topics that you might not have even considered! This can be really helpful if you’re doing research for a project, for example, because using the Topic Finder, you can quickly see related topics you might like to look into further, that you wouldn’t have found if you were just doing a general search.

Plus, it looks super pretty — here’s a cute example of a quick search I did for “New Zealand” — as you can see, it has quickly broken down that huge topic into a whole bunch of more specific topics that it will be way easier for me to explore further:

The colours! So fetching!

Term Frequency

If you’re a language nerd like me, you’re super interested in how the language we use changes over time. And the language used to describe the LGBTQIA+ community changes frequently as social norms are challenged and eventually changed. The Term Frequency tool lets you see exactly how this works by showing letting you compare how often particular terms are referenced in written works throughout history.

This is a really interesting example — in the below graph, the black line traces usage of the word “transgender,” whereas the blue line traces the usage of the word “transsexual.” Note that “transsexual” was the more common word, until 1993, when transgender activist Leslie Feinberg popularised the use of the word “transgender” in her impactful novel Stone Butch Blues.

Look, a graph might not seem cool to you, but it seems really cool to us!

So what?

Armed with your new array of tools and techniques, go forth and explore! There is so much interesting, exciting, challenging, inspiring, and thought-provoking stuff in this archive just waiting to be found. Go on! Find it!

Let’s ace Ace Week!

We’re now in the middle of Ace Week! Ace Week is an annual week to celebrate and highlight asexuality and all asexual-spectrum identities. So let’s celebrate all you Aces out there!

If you’re wondering what asexuality is, aces & aros has a pretty good introduction to asexuality and aromanticism. Awareness is important, and knowledge is a powerful thing!

Or if you’re after something more local… As part of their More Than Four campaign, InsideOUT created a series of videos that feature and explore the wide range of identities within our rainbow community. Check out their Asexual/Aromantic video below!

And since we’re a library, I couldn’t end this post without giving you some reading recommendations from our collection! Here are some books that feature asexual characters, or asexual authors!

Ace : what asexuality reveals about desire, society, and the meaning of sex / Chen, Angela
“Ace” delves into the lives of those who identify using the little-known sexual orientation of asexuality and shows what all of us can learn–about desire, identity, culture, and relationships–when we use an asexual lens to see the world”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook

Rick / Gino, Alex
“Eleven-year-old Rick Ramsey has generally gone along with everybody, just not making waves, even though he is increasingly uncomfortable with his father’s jokes about girls, and his best friend’s explicit talk about sex; but now in middle school he discovers the Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities can express themselves–and maybe among them he can find new friends and discover his own identity, which may just be to opt out of sex altogether.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook and eBook

Overdrive cover Asexual Fairy Tales / Hopkinson, Elizabeth (ebook)
“A refreshing collection of enchanting fairy tales that reflect the spectrum of human sexuality.” (Overdrive description)

Gender queer : a memoir / Kobabe, Maia
“In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity – what it means and how to think about it – for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.”–Amazon.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook

 Elatsoe / Little Badger, Darcie
“Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream. There are some differences. This America has been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day. Seventeen-year-old Elatsoe (“Ellie” for short) lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect façade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family” — Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook

Every heart a doorway / McGuire, Seanan
“Children have always disappeared from Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere … else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced … they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world. But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter. No matter the cost.” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook and eBook

Tricky Topics: A literary guide for when you’re scared to Google

The release of season three of Sex Education on Netflix is the perfect opportunity to introduce some of the more educationally risqué books in our collection. While the fabulously jumpsuited Dr. Jean Milburn is an absolute trove of knowledge, unfortunately we can’t go to her with all our own nitty-gritty queries. Thankfully, we do have our local libraries! So, in place of the good Doctor, let’s get into some of the enlightening tomes we have on offer:

Looking for something specific? Want to know more but afraid to ask? Check out more topics and how to find them in the library using the Dewey Decimal System:

As librarians, we’re here to help, not judge. Always feel free to ask for more information at your local library.


Sex : an uncensored introduction / Hasler, Nikol
“Sex: An Uncensored Introduction provides honest, in-depth information about sex, sexual orientation, masturbation, foreplay, birth control options, and protection against disease. This revised and updated edition includes updated information about everything from STIs to new sex-related legislation as well as brand new sections on sexting, online dating and safety, and sex-related bullying of all kinds […]” (Catalogue)

The pride guide : a guide to sexual and social health for LGBTQ youth / Langford, Jo
“Jo Langford offers a complete guide to sexual and social development, safety, and health for LGBTQ youth and those who love and support them. Written from a practical perspective, the author explores the realities of teen sexuality, particularly that of trans teens, and provides guidance and understanding for parents and kids alike.” (Catalogue)

Vagina : a re-education / Enright, Lynn
“For centuries, the vagina has been made mysterious, neglected, mutilated or mocked, and as a consequence few people know much about it. In Vagina: A Re-Education, acclaimed journalist Lynn Enright charts the story of this crucial organ, encompassing fertility and hormones, pain and arousal, sex education and more.” (Catalogue)

Let’s talk about it : the teen’s guide to sex, relationships, and being a human / Moen, Erika
“A graphic novel about sex, sexuality, gender, body, consent, and many other topics for teens”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Doing it! : let’s talk about sex / Witton, Hannah
“Sexting. Virginity. Consent. The Big O … Let’s face it, doing it can be tricksy. I don’t know anyone (including myself) who has sex all figured out. So I’ve written a book full of honest, hilarious (and sometimes awkward) anecdotes, confessions and revelations. […] We talk about doing it safely. Doing it joyfully. Doing it when you’re ready. Not doing it. Basically, doing it the way you want, when you want. So. Let’s do this … “–Publisher information.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The hormone diaries : the bloody truth about our periods / Witton, Hannah
” […] From first periods to first coils, pimples to hot-water bottles and PCOS to endometriosis, The Hormone Diaries is your essential companion on the hormone rollercoaster. Filled with Hannah’s insights, fascinating research and those priceless crowdsourced stories, it’s the reassuring hug we all need. At least 50 per cent of the world has to deal with this stuff – it’s time we started talking about it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Self-care down there : from menstrual cups and moisturizers to body positivity and Brazilian wax, a guide to your vagina’s well-being / Bhandal, Taq Kaur
“Get the lowdown on how to take care of your nether regions with this fun and frank guide focused on helping you maintain your private parts. Covering everything from everyday cleanliness to internal and external safe health advice as well as tips regarding the groom-or-not-to-groom debate and sex-friendly good habits to practice, Self-Care Down There will help you keep your private parts in tip-top shape while expressing the true you! […] “– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

They/them/their : a guide to nonbinary and genderqueer identities / Young, Eris
“Showing what life is like as a nonbinary or genderqueer person, this book explores relationships, mental and physical health, language use and identity and appearance, providing advice for nonbinary people and how friends and family can support them.”– Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

Written on the body : letters from trans and non-binary survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence
“Written by and for trans and non-binary survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, Written on the Body offers support, guidance and hope for those who struggle to find safety at home, in the body, and other unwelcoming places. This collection of letters written to body parts weaves together narratives of gender, identity, and abuse. It is the coming together of those who have been fragmented and often met with disbelief. The book holds the concerns and truths that many trans people share while offering space for dialogue and reclamation. Written with intelligence and intimacy, this book is for those who have found power in re-shaping their bodies, families, and lives.” (Catalogue)

Boys & sex : young men on hookups, love, porn, consent, and navigating the new masculinity / Orenstein, Peggy
“[…] Today’s young men are subject to the same cultural forces as their female peers. They are steeped in the distorted media images and binary stereotypes of female sexiness and toxic masculinity which shape how they, too, navigate sexual and emotional relationships […] Orenstein takes an unprecedented look at the myriad factors that are shaping boys’ ideas of sex, girls, and masculinity […]”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Vagina problems : endometriosis, painful sex, and other taboo topics / Parker, Lara
“[…] Less than a year before, [Lara Parker] received not only the diagnosis of endometriosis, but also a diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction, vulvodynia, vaginismus, and vulvar vestibulitis. Combined, these debilitating conditions have wreaked havoc on her life, causing excruciating pain throughout her body since she was fourteen years old […] With candid revelations about her vaginal physical therapy, dating as a straight woman without penetrative sex, coping with painful seizures while at the office, diet and wardrobe malfunctions when your vagina hurts all the time, and the depression and anxiety of feeling unloved, Lara tackles it all […]”– Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Books About Stuff and Other Things: New Non-fiction for Teens

Librarians spend a good deal of time scouring publication lists and trawling through horrifying numbers (like, you have no idea) of online reviews to settle on which books we should buy for our collection. Among the comics, fantasy epics, dystopian hellscapes, romantic comedies, and other fictional titles that routinely land on our desks, are analysed, and then purchased in their hundreds every month, we also seek out books about ~shock of all shocks~ reality. Stuff, things, and other such delights. Our non-fiction collections comprise books on just about every topic under the sun (and even some topics beyond the sun, but that’s a conversation for another day.)

Today, for your delectation, we are serving up some brand new books about nerdy stuff, hip-hop, jobs and careers, sex and sexuality, neurodivergence, and the environment — head down to your local library (or smash that handy and convenient “Reserve Now” button) and dig in!

Can’t stop won’t stop : a hip-hop history / Chang, Jeff
“From award-winning author Jeff Chang, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is the story of hip-hop, a generation-defining movement and the music that transformed American politics and culture forever. Hip hop is one of the most dominant and influential cultures in America, giving new voice to the younger generation. It defines a generation’s worldview. Exploring hip hop’s beginnings up to the present day, Jeff Chang and Dave “Davey D” Cook provide a provocative look into the new world that the hip hop generation has created. Based on original interviews with DJs, b-boys, rappers, activists, and gang members, with unforgettable portraits of many of hip hop’s forebears, founders, mavericks, and present day icons, this book chronicles the epic events, ideas and the music that marked the hip hop generation’s rise.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Depression : insights and tips for teenagers / Cognevich, Christie
“This book offers relatable situations and strategies to guide teens struggling with mental health–including identifying signs of struggle, recognizing stress factors, and offering strategies to escape harmful mental habits which can leave individuals feeling vulnerable, helpless, or in despair.” (Catalogue)

Queerly autistic : the ultimate guide for LGBTQIA+ teens on the spectrum / Ekins, Erin
“From coming out to friends and family through to relationships, self-care and coping with bullying, being out and about in the LGBTQIA+ community and undergoing gender transition, this book is filled with essential information, advice, support and resources to help you on your journey, and also works as a primer on all things LGBTQIA+ for non-autistic teens just figuring it all out.” (Catalogue)

Coming out : insights and tips for teenagers / Endsley, Kezia
“This book addresses the hows and whys of coming out, as well as potential concerns teenagers may have–including how to know when you’re ready to come out, who to tell first, and how to deal with unsupportive people. First-hand accounts from teenagers provide personal insight throughout.” (Catalogue)

Marvel monsters : creatures of the Marvel universe explored / Knox, Kelly
“All Super Heroes need a monster to fight, or a monstrous sidekick to help them. Some are even monsters themselves. This comprehensive field guide to Marvel flora, fauna, and beasts great and small shows off claws, teeth, tails, and wings in sumptuous, never-seen-before detail. From tyrannosaurus rexes from alternative worlds and genetically modified deinonychuses from the future, to purple cat-sized dragons and swamp monsters, the Marvel multiverse is brimming with creatures both heroic and villainous. Explore swamps and the Savage Lands and more. Discover aerial beasts, artificially created creatures, and even monster team ups. This anthology is a beautifully curated guide to the best and the worst and ensures you will never get Fin Fang Foom and Tim Boom Ba mixed up again! © 2021 MARVEL” (Catalogue)

Hothouse Earth : the climate crisis and the importance of carbon neutrality / McPherson, Stephanie Sammartino
“As hurricanes, droughts, floods, and wildfires are increasing in regularity and intensity, climate change can no longer be ignored. Melting permafrost, forest dieback, ocean acidification, and other processes are creating positive feedback loops which could, if not aggressively and quickly addressed, spiral out of control and take global warming past the point of no return. Hothouse Earth examines how science, politics, and social justice must all be part of the equation to counteract climate change.” (Catalogue)

The world of Critical Role : the history behind the epic fantasy / Marsham, Liz
“A guide to the massively popular fantasy RPG livestream offers previously unreleased photos and artwork, sharing cast insights into its origins and storylines as well as the diverse array of art and cosplay that Critical Role inspires.” (Catalogue)

Let’s talk about it : the teen’s guide to sex, relationships, and being a human / Moen, Erika
“Growing up is complicated. How do you find the answers to all the questions you have about yourself, about your identity, and about your body? Let’s Talk About It provides a comprehensive, thoughtful, well-researched graphic novel guide to everything you need to know. Covering relationships, friendships, gender, sexuality, anatomy, body image, safe sex, sexting, jealousy, rejection, sex education, and more, Let’s Talk About It is the go-to handbook for every teen, and the first in graphic novel form.” (Catalogue)

Love your career from the start : making decisions for your future – a guide for young adults / Sandford, Caroline
“This practical book for 15-25-year-olds introduces the four key stages involved in making good decisions for your future. It contains easy exercises that will help you: understand who you are and who you want to become, explore the options that are right for you, create an action plan that ensures you have what you need to realise your goals, identify the strategies your need to create the future that YOU want.” (Catalogue)

From the Vaults VI: More Manga Gems

We have already posted in this very blog series about the treasure trove of manga titles that are available for you to reserve — over 170 series or stand-alone titles, for a total of over 4,000 unique volumes to peruse. And though we’ve been buying more manga for our branch libraries so it’s easier for you to browse, there’s still a sizeable chunk of the manga collection on the shelves at Te Pātaka, our collection and distribution centre, just waiting for you to reserve it. Read on to discover some of the library’s hidden manga gems.

Bleach. Volume 1, Strawberry and the soul reaper / Kubo, Tite

What better way to start this list than with iconic shōnen series Bleach? All 74 volumes of the legendary adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki and Rukia Kuchiki can be found on the shelves at Te Pātaka, and you can reserve them to get sent wherever you like. If you’re still into doing things old-school, you can also find the Bleach anime (movies and series) on DVD on our catalogue. If you haven’t yet descended into the world of Soul Reapers and Hollows, spirits and afterlives, well, now is as good a time as any.

The drifting classroom. Volume 1 / Umezu, Kazuo

The Drifting Classroom is truly a hidden gem in our manga collection. First published in Japan in 1972 by horror mangaka Kazuo Umezu, this series won him the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award in 1974. After a supernatural tremor causes young Sho Takamatsu’s classroom to transport to an otherworldly post-apocalyptic wasteland, he and his classmates find themselves beset by nightmares, monsters, and creeping madness as they try to find a way back to their homes. Side note: this chilling and beautifully illustrated manga was adapted into the film Drifting School in 1995 — the film itself was generally poorly-received, but it did serve to kick-start the career of one Drake Bell, in the role of Kenny Smith!

A drifting life / Tatsumi, Yoshihiro

One of the more ‘literary’ sets on this list, Eisner Award-winning manga A Drifting Life is often read as an autobiographical series chronicling the life of the author, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, in the early stages of his career as a mangaka. Metafictional efforts like this can sometimes come across as a little stilted or forced (“Oh wow, another book about how much of a struggle it is to write a book”) — not so with A Drifting Life. The art is by turns sparkling and muted, the text by turns dense and sparse, as the situation demands. This is a work of art about work and art that you really shouldn’t miss. 

Magic knight Rayearth. [Volume 1] / CLAMP (Mangaka group)

A classic of both the magical girl and mecha genres, CLAMP’s Magic Knight Rayearth sits among the greats of 90s shōjo manga — a feat that is even more impressive when you consider this period contains some of the true stalwarts of the genre — we’re talking like Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura levels here. Action-packed, strong characterisations, and an epic video game-esque story treatment characterise this series. It’s little wonder it spawned no fewer than six video game adaptations in its history.

My lesbian experience with loneliness / Nagata, Kabi

Okay, okay, I know we’ve written about this incredible standalone volume before on this very blog. But look, who could blame us for wanting to highlight it again? It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s expressive, it’s relatable — you definitely won’t regret picking it up. My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness made a massive splash when it burst onto the scenes in 2017 — interestingly, for a manga title, it didn’t just have an impact in Japan, but also in Western media, where it won the Crunchyroll ‘Manga of the Year’ award, was listed among the best comics of the 2017 on both Publishers Weekly and Amazon, also picking up a Harvey Award for Best Manga.

NonNonBa / Mizuki, Shigeru

Shigeru Mizuki’s critically-acclaimed NonNonBa is rightly considered one of the finest examples of gekiga (劇画) style comics, defined by its stylised, dramatic and cinematic artistic style and more esoteric subject matter. NonNonBa is at its heart a story about Mizuki’s childhood, and his complex relationship with his grandmother, which is intersected by their explorations of the world of yōkai (妖怪), the supernatural spirits of Japanese folklore. This was the first manga title to win the coveted Angoulême Prize for Best Album, the Fauve d’Or, in 2007.
Orange : the complete collection. 1 / Takano, Ichigo

What’s not to love about Orange? This is a brilliant story that fuses elements of romance and sci-fi tropes such as time travel into a very compelling slice-of-life package that is very hard to put down. The overall mood is quite sombre in places, as the series definitely doesn’t shy away from exploring some pretty dark places thematically, but the promise of hope is never far from sight. 

Otherworld Barbara. Vol. 1 / Hagio, Moto

Okay, so this is definitely a weird one, but hear us out. This science fiction thriller really throws the whole kitchen sink at the reader. Cannibalistic, murderous nine-year-olds? Check. Eccentric clergyman who possibly holds the secret to immortality? Check. An absolutely wild ride that delivers everything it promises and more? Check. We can’t promise you won’t be a little bit disturbed, but sometimes the best art can take you far beyond your comfort zone.

Ouran High School Host Club. Vol. 1 / Hatori, Bisco

Another one we’ve promoted before in this redoubtable publication. We will never not stan for Ouran High School Host Club. We hear the anime is on Netflix now, but trust us, you’ll want to read the manga first. It’s just so great!

Sakura Hime : the legend of Princess Sakura. 1 / Tanemura, Arina

So Sakura Hime isn’t about to win any major awards for originality. It does what it says on the tin. It’s a shōjo manga series featuring all the usual tropes: cutesy characters with a (slightly bloodthirsty) taste for magical combat, man-eating demons to be defeated, a touch of romance, and a band of friends who together can surely take on any challenge. But it does it so well. And we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of the depth and nuance afforded to Sakura, our 14-year-old royal protagonist, and her friends. This is a good one — check it out if this is your kind of thing!

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Volume 1, The name’s Yuma! / Yoshida, Shin

Yes, there is a Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. Is it good? Well, you be the judge. We will definitely say that the art is amazing. Like weirdly amazing for a spinoff of a spinoff of an anime that’s a spinoff of a trading card game that’s a spinoff of yet another anime that itself is the spinoff of a manga from the mid-90s. Give it a try; you might just like it!

An exciting Out on the Shelves update!

Unlike what you may have heard, librarians are actually human. And as such, we do like to boast a bit when we win things. So on with the boasting!

Back in June was the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week (actually two weeks, but we’ll let that slide!). If you don’t know what that is then I’d definitely recommend having a poke around the Out on the Shelves website, or even reading this blog post about it that we put up in June.

Anyway.

There’s a Campaign Week, there’s a Display Competition, and we won some things!

There were three categories, each with a winner and a runner-up. One is for the Best School Library Display, which we aren’t eligible for, but congratulations to St Hilda’s Collegiate School, the winner, and to Northcote School, the runner-up! You can see their displays on the Out on the Shelves website.

The winner of the Most Creative Display, however, was very exciting for us here at Wellington City Libraries. This category was won by our very own Johnsonville Library!

Check out their fantastic (and award-winning!) display:
A collage of four pictures of the Johnsonville library display. Largest at the bottom is the whole display, a table covered with a selection of pride flag scarves, a sign across the from saying "Out on the Shelves”, rainbow-themed books on stands, then a large rainbow arch across the whole table. The second picture is a close-up of a group of colourful painted wooden figures holding a sign that says “Pride!”. The third picture is of two small wooden people holding a sign that says “Be Trans and throw hands” above two 3D printed penguins that are holding hands. The last picture is of a small wooden Bernie Sanders sitting on a chair in his famous mittens and mask pose. He is wearing all pink, except for his mittens and socks which are rainbow.
Johnsonville Library is lucky enough to house Tūhura – The HIVE, our makerspace. The HIVE is full of all sorts of exciting things, a loom, a laser-cutter, and several 3D printers, to name but a few. And this display has made excellent use of these exciting things. There are those fantastic 3D-printed penguins and wonderful rainbow arch. And what about those pride-flag scarves adorning the table? They were woven right there on the loom in the library by expert staff, interested passers-by, and by many keen queer kids who use the library. And do you see those laser-cut wooden figures of people waving flags and banners? Those were painted for this display by some of the young people at one of the recent Youth Nights. Ka pai e hoa mā!

The Most Creative runner-up was Martinborough Library in the Wairarapa who also did a great job. But of course we’re firmly behind our own here in Johnsonville.

The winner of the Best Community Space Display was Dunedin Public Libraries down in …Dunedin.

But the runner-up was Te Awe Library, our CBD branch just off Lambton Quay!

Have a look at the Te Awe displays:
A collage of four pictures of two displays, clockwise from the left they are: first the whole upstairs display around the corner that sticks out into the young adult area. A large picture of a bookshelf has been stuck to the wall, on these shelves are the heading “Out on the Shelves”, holders for bookmarks, and pictures of book covers. Along the top are real books on stands. Hanging from above are rainbow paper chains and pompoms in pride flag colours. The second picture is a close-up of the fake bookshelves. The third picture is of the second display in the downstairs area. There are rainbow paper chains along the top, then a colourful heading of “out on the shelves”. On the left side are pictures of book covers, on the right side are posters of the Out on the Shelves booklists. Between the two sides is a vertical line of pride flags. The last picture is a close-up of a bookmark holder on the first display.
Such excellent rainbow chains! And those shelves look almost real (Out on the Shelves, get it?). There’s pompoms and flags and bookmarks. So fun!

A whole bunch of our libraries had awesome displays as well — check out these from Karori Library and Arapaki Library on Manners Street!

A collage of two displays. Left: A rainbow pyramid of books at Karori Library, decorated with person-shaped cutouts in various colours. Right: A brightly-coloured display of books at Arapaki Library, decorated above with rainbow streamers and balloons.

So that’s our celebratory blog post! We’re very happy to have taken part in the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week, very proud of our displays, and very excited to have won things!

Out on the Shelves at Your Libraries

Hello friends!

This week the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week begins, and when they say week, they really mean two weeks. This Campaign Week is a time for libraries (amongst others) to really highlight Out on the Shelves, to make some colourful displays, and to run some awesome events.

Now, I’m sure you’re getting super excited already, but you might not even know what Out on the Shelves is! Well, let me explain.

Out on the Shelves is an online reading resource created by InsideOUT to help rainbow young people find, read, and recommend positive and affirming stories with good representation in them. We’ve had enough of “Bury your Gays“, thank you very much! If you want to know a bit more, then check out this video:

If you’re looking for your next book to read, then check out the booklists. If you’ve read a wonderfully queer book recently and don’t see it on any of the Out on the Shelves booklists, then you can go ahead and make a submission!

If you’re a writer you can enter the writing competition, or if you want to try your hand at Zine making you can create a page for the 2021 Rainbow Zine.

But wait, there’s more!

Do you like books? Do you like movies? Do you like quizzes? Do you like hanging out at the library with a bunch of other Cool Kids and some extra cool (if I do say so myself) librarians? Do you remember how I said earlier that the Campaign Week is a great time for libraries to run awesome events?

If you do, you’re in luck! We’ll be running a range of events at four different libraries across the city.

Youth Movie Night: Pride Edition
To celebrate Out on the Shelves 2021, Wellington City Libraries are hosting a YA movie night. The film will be LGBT+ themed, but otherwise it is a complete secret! Venture to a late-night library screening near you for popcorn, pals and a pride-fuelled time. For ages 13-18.

Join us at 6.00pm to get settled down with some snacks, and we’ll start the movie at 6.30pm.

Rainbow Zine Workshops
Join us for the zine-making afternoons for young adults and try your hand at writing, poetry or art! Enter the Out On The Shelves writing competition, write a book review for the official 2021 Rainbow Zine, or check out our LGBTQI+ book collection.

Youth Quiz Night: Pride Edition
To celebrate Out on the Shelves 2021, Wellington City Libraries are hosting a Pride quiz extravaganza! There will be pizza, prizes, and plenty of quizzical challenges. Coming to a library near you! For ages 13-18.

Show up and grab a table with your team, or just show up and we can help you find a team!

So come along, make new friends, grab a bookmark booklist, and have fun!

What’s On for Wellington Pride?

Wellington Pride Festival logo, dark field, rainbow design surrounding

Join us for the Wellington Pride Festival 2021!

This month, from 13-27 March, is the Wellington Pride Festival | Tū Whakahīhī e te Whanganui-ā-Tara. As New Zealand’s longest-running Pride festival, Wellington Pride is the annual celebration of rainbow pride in our city, featuring LGBTQIA+ performers, historians, writers, artists, musicians, and — of course — librarians doing their thing for the community. Wellington City Libraries always joins in on the fun, and this year we have a selection of awesome events that you might be interested in coming along to. Check out the deets below!


Queer Stories: Discovering LGBTQIA+ History at the Library
Friday 19 March, 5.00 – 7.30pm
Newtown Library

Join some very cool librarians as they trace how LGBTQIA+ stories are told through the library’s collections in print, online, and on film. The event will conclude with a free screening of a queer film from our collection, and we anticipate rainbow cupcakes will be consumed voraciously!


The Queer History of Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Thursday 18 March, 5.30 – 7.00pm
Te Awe Library

Join us for an evening of sharing Wellington’s queer and takatāpui oral history. We’ll being hearing kōrero from historians Will Hansen and Roger Swanson, both involved in the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand (LAGANZ), as well as Kay’la Rian representing Tīwhanawhana celebrating the organizations 20th anniversary. More speakers to be announced!


Queer Experience and Expression
Thursday 25 March, 5.30 – 7.00pm
Te Awe Library

Hear from a variety of local queer and takatāpui artists about their experiences through their unique form of artistic expression. Celebrate the LGBTQI+ perspective that comes through in all varieties of expression. We’ll be hearing from illustrator Sam Orchard, Wellington-based artist and musician Olga Lapin, and Dr Elizabeth Kerekere — artist, LGBTQ+ activist, scholar and NZ politician with the Green Party.


Rainbow Storytimes with Hugo Grrrl and Friends
Sunday 14 March, 2 – 3pm at Johnsonville Library
Monday 15 March, 11am – 12pm at Karori Library
Saturday 20 March, 2 – 3pm at Kilbirnie Library
Sunday 21 March, 2 – 3pm at Te Awe Library

Okay, okay, I know if you’re reading this you’re probably not a kid, and you’re probably thinking these events are for kids. And they are! But they’re also for you. Come along for a most enchanting hour of stories, songs and games with some of Wellington’s most excellent drag performers, including Hugo Grrrl, Harlie Lux, Amy Thurst, and many more. So wholesome, so fabulous, so great — even if you’re not a kid, you’ll dig it! And if you’re an aspiring drag artist yourself, you should come along to see how it’s done!


Out in the City
Sunday 27 March, 11am – 5pm
Michael Fowler Centre, 2nd floor

Yes, your favourite library again has a stall at your favourite LGBTQIA+ community event of the year — Out in the City (it used to be called Out in the Park if the name sounds a little unfamiliar). We’ll be there all day handing out our signature queer literary icon badges (as well as the usual rainbow library ones!), and talking about LGBTQIA+ books, movies, online resources and more. Come and say hi!

New LGBTIQ+ Teen Reads on OverDrive

Look, I get it. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you what books to read. I understand that! There’s a lot of books out there — entirely too many to count — so the intrepid librarians behind our illustrious eBook collection on OverDrive and Libby have undertaken to sort these books into comprehensive, yet easily-digestible lists for your convenience. One such list in the Teen Reading Room is the LGBTIQ+ Teen Reads list, which has recently doubled in size thanks to the efforts of our mystical and talented library gremlins! Make sure to keep checking in as new lists are being worked on all the time.

LGBTIQ+ Teen Reads

This list pulls together a veritable panoply of the best of the best in LGBTIQ+ authors and titles for young adults — that’s you! Here are some of my current faves from this selection:

Overdrive cover We Contain Multitudes, Sarah Henstra (Audiobook)

This beautiful book, told as an epistolary story (through letters and diary entries) is a classic oppposites-attract romance set in a Minnesota high school. You may have to suspend your disbelief a little at the premise of this story (letter-writing pen pals in high school? In 2019? Sure, Jan), but give it some time. The characters are deftly drawn, the storytelling by turns cerebral and intensely emotional, and the language absolutely to die for. Plus it was my sister’s favourite read of 2019. Give it a whirl!

Overdrive cover Lizard Radio, Pat Schmatz (ebook)

I totally dig this oddball dystopian coming-of-age novel (with lizard-people aliens!) wrapped in layers of mysticism, cyber-tech, and explorations of gender identity. Kivali is a “bender,” a young person who doesn’t conform to the extremely rigid gender culture of the all-powerful Gov’s future society, sent to mandatory rewiring in a gruelling CropCamp with other nonconforming teens. From all quarters, Kivali is faced with the question — who are you? — a question she refuses to take at face value, and challenges in different ways throughout the book. A must-read for nonbinary teens everywhere!

Overdrive cover My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen, David Clawson (ebook)

This book is a super sweet modern fairytale — a kind of Cinderella for the modern sensibility. It has its moments of darkness, sure, and like many of the mainstays of queer literature some of its musings on issues of sexuality, family, money and stability, and self-doubt will hit home a little too squarely for some. But where My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen really shines, for me, is in its lighter moments — how a random encounter with a drag queen can sweep joy into your world; how getting swept off your feet by sudden, unexpected romance can feel easier and lighter than breathing. This book is a celebration of all things glitter and warmth, and it invites you to the party every time.

Overdrive cover The Full Spectrum, David Levithan (ebook)

This is a Very Cool and Most Timely collection of poems, essays, and stories written by young adults and teens from across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. The writings cover a massive range of topics — coming out, dealing with family (supportive and not so much), navigating friendships that suddenly seem to have taken on a new dynamic, questions of faith and identity, and much more. Plus it’s all been pulled together by none other than the legendary David Levithan, and rad queer poet Billy Merrell, whose 2017 novel Vanilla is also a Must Read for fans of poetry and queerness.

Overdrive cover You Asked for Perfect, Laura Silverman (ebook)

Ya okay so this book is just painfully, beautifully relatable on so many levels. Perfectionist attitude towards school keeping you down in terms of life? Check. So worried about the future that you’re losing your grip on what’s happening right now? Check. Queer and stressed? Yep, that’s one big ol’ checkeroon. But don’t worry friends, all is not lost, because books like this are here to save the day! As the wonderful Bill Konigsberg puts it in his back-cover review, “[the book] hit me straight in the heart.”

Overdrive cover Finding Nevo, Nevo Zisin (ebook)

This powerful autobiography should be a required read for anybody to whom questions of identity are important. I can’t put it any better than the OverDrive description, so let me quote from it: “Meet Nevo: girl, boy, he she, him, her, they, them, daughter, son, teacher, student, friend, gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, homosexual, Jew, dyke, masculine, feminine, androgynous, queer. Nevo was not born in the wrong body. Nevo just wants everyone to catch up with all that Nevo is.” Read it now!

Overdrive cover The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Patrick Ness (ebook)

Patrick Ness’s trademark poetic and slightly oblique style is really brought to bear in this sci-fi deconstruction to end all sci-fi deconstructions. What if something remarkable and improbable is happening in your town (dark and mystical forces colliding; people’s family members disappearing in the woods; extra-terrestrial beings descending from the Great Beyond to wreak terror and destruction, only to be stopped at the last minute by an ordinary teen who just happens to be the only one with the power to stand up to what may or may not be the gods of old made manifest in this realm), but you’re not the Chosen One? You’re just a background character (in most books like this, you’d be among the first to go, possibly before we even got to hear your tragic backstory) and you’d really like it to stay that way. You’re not trying to save the world, you’re just trying to make it through the day without embarrassing yourself too much. This book’s queerness is part of its fabric without being the main focus — you should read it anyway, because it’s Just That Good, Folks.

Overdrive cover The Falling in Love Montage, Ciara Smyth (ebook)

This novel balances tongue-in-cheek witticisms with clear-eyed sincerity in an absolutely gorgeous way. Saoirse, 17, dealing with many issues in her life beyond her recent breakup with her ex, Hannah, meets Ruby, one of the most instantly loveable characters of any in books on this list. Ruby believes in true love, you see, and invites Saoirse to make a rom-com out of their lives together, complete with long, meaningful glances on Ferris wheels, ‘spontaneous’ skinny dipping late at night, and yes, a falling-in-love-montage just like in the movies. Not that the book is all bubbles and soft lens filters, but definitely one to curl up with under the covers, wearing out your face from all the smiling.

Overdrive cover Rainbow Revolutionaries, Sarah Prager (ebook)

The LGBTIQ+ Teen Reads curated list doesn’t just include fiction, but a great amount of nonfiction as well. This is a compelling collection of autobiographies covering the lives and times of 50 very rad and very revolutionary queer people spanning continents and centuries, who have left some indelible mark on culture, society, and what-it-means-to-be-queer-ness at some point in their lives. The people discussed range from the super well-known (the Frida Kahlos, Alan Turings, and Harvey Milks of this world) to the less well-known, at least in Western pop culture (Maryam Molkara, Nzinga, Al-Hakam II, and Tshepo Ricki Kgositau, to name a few), all  accompanied by Sarah Papworth’s striking and energising art and Sarah Prager’s concise and, at times, searing descriptions. 

Overdrive cover Are You Listening?, Tillie Walden (ebook)

I had to end this selection with one of my absolute favourite reads in recent months — Tillie Walden’s atmospheric, surreal, breathtaking ride of a graphic novel in Are You Listening? I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but prepare yourself for a real emotional rollercoaster, and one of the most arresting and most genuine depictions of a moment of real human connection that I can remember seeing in a book (or anywhere else, for that matter). I read this one in a single sitting, oblivious to the world around me, and to be honest I can’t imagine anyone putting it down before the end. Do yourself a favour and pick this one up as soon as you can — you definitely won’t regret it.

Looms, flags, and a lot of (queer) yarn

If you’ve visited Johnsonville Library recently then hopefully you’ll know that we have a space downstairs that’s packed with all kinds of exciting stuff. It’s called Tūhura/The HIVE, and it’s a makerspace full of tech and toys, lasers and Lego, robots and recording equipment, and, most excitingly (or so I think, but I may be biased), a loom!

Since we opened the new Johnsonville Library we’ve tried to keep the loom warped up so anyone can come in and try their hand at weaving a few rows. We’ve had almost everyone, local Johnsonvillians, a Paralympian, even the WCC Chief Executive, come in and have a go. And just last week I took the latest scarf off the loom and tied up the ends in tassels.A newly finished scarf lies folded on the small loom in the Johnsonville makerspace. The stripes on the scarf go (from left to right) blue, pink, white, pink, blue.

Isn’t it beautiful? Admittedly, we did strategically fold it to only show the neatest end of the weaving, but it’s still beautiful when unfolded and laid out. Look at those warped stripes! The lovely colours! Wait a minute, those colours look familiar. Could that be the Transgender Pride Flag?

Why yes, yes it is!

Claude, a grey, green, and yellow caterpillar is sitting on a cushion crocheting the last row of a scarf. The stripes of the scarf are, in order, yellow, white, purple, and the last one is black.

And that’s not all! Claude, our favourite crocheted caterpillar, was so inspired after seeing this scarf come off the loom that they decided to crochet a creative scarf of their own. Is that colourful close-to-completed scarf there another Pride Flag? Of course! It’s the Non-binary Pride Flag.

But I digress.

When we warp up the loom (attach the vertical threads to the loom. There are two yarn components you use when weaving. The warp goes up and down. The weft goes from the weft to the wight. Yes, I know that’s bad), we get to choose what pattern we put on. And if we want to show our support for trans people then we will damn well do that! And write a blog post about it too.

Now, I hope that this particularly excellent scarf shows you that knitting, weaving, crocheting – fibrecraft in general – is pretty cool. And there are so many cool things you can do! There are more things to create than these (undeniably amazing) scarves. Crochet your own Claude! Knit a political hat! There are so many free patterns available online, not to mention the books available through your local library. You could try your hand at some Subversive Cross Stitch, or create yourself some Literary Knits. Literary crocheting is also available.

OR you could get into something a bit bigger and a bit more public. Have you ever heard of yarn bombing? If you haven’t, then you are in for a treat! Yarn bombing, guerrilla knitting, knitted graffiti, whatever you want to call it, is when you create a carefully crafted cover for something out in public. It could be for a pipe, a tree, a statue, or whatever you feel would benefit from a bit of beautification. We’ve got a few books about yarn bombing, or you could just wander around Wellington and keep an eye out for artfully decorated bollards and poles.

A picture taken looking down the street towards the Tawa Community Centre entrance. It is a sunny day. Lining up with the left side of the picture is a pipe attached to the building, that has is wearing a rainbow cover.There’s a particularly fine example of yarn-bombing outside the Tawa Community Centre, just around the corner from the Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library. Yes it’s a rainbow. Did you really think I would let go of the queer thread weaving this post together?

Speaking of queer threads, that wonderfully proud scarf that you may remember is now on display in the HIVE at Johnsonville Library. And speaking of the HIVE, I can highly recommend dropping in there on a Friday evening for our fibrecraft HIVE 101. If you ever feel like learning a bit more about weaving, talking to someone about knitting, or just settling down for an evening with some crochet, come on by!

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